Statutory notice payments

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From Deputy Geoff Southern.

I WRITE in response to the letter from Clive Tomes, ‘Industry Destroyer?’ (JEP, 3 April).

I try not to respond to every attack on my integrity published in the press – after all, there are only so many hours in the day. However, in this case I feel I must respond. The letter from Mr Tomes might be heartfelt, but it is, I fear, inaccurate.

Apparently I have ‘persuaded the States to pay for all redundancies’. This is not true. I have persuaded the States to cover statutory notice payments for those made redundant through company insolvency as an interim measure while we get a long overdue redundancy scheme in place.

Mr Tomes then goes on to accuse me, in crude terms that I have not heard since Senator Frank Walker left the States, of ‘support for an anti-finance industry meeting’ and ‘joining in attempts to destroy Jersey’s main industry’. This is absolutely not the case.

Had Mr Tomes been at the meeting he refers to, where representatives of Christian Aid, Cafod and Oxfam, among others, put their case against the damaging impact of offshore finance activity on developing countries, he would have heard me state clearly that I wholeheartedly support an ‘ethical and well-regulated’ finance industry in Jersey. I am sure that he too would be equally supportive.

I am, however, as I am sure he must be too, against abusive tax evasion and avoidance practices which enable corporations to avoid paying tax in the countries where they do business. We are ourselves trying to prevent such practice in Jersey with the Blampied proposals for deemed rent on zero-rated foreign companies.

We must not pretend that the inclusion of Jersey on the G20 summit’s white list means that all and any pressure from the OECD over transparency is over. It is not, and we must be prepared for further efforts on this front. In the meantime, Mr Tomes need lose no sleep over my ability to look after the interests of my constituents. I do not believe that they share his inaccurate concerns.

La Rochelle,

Bellozanne Avenue,

St Helier.

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